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By 1989, The Disney Channel had a total of about five million pay subscribers nationwide.
In 1991, eight cable providers volunteered to move The Disney Channel to their expanded basic cable packages, instead of offering it as a premium channel; Jones Intercable was the first provider to carry the channel as a basic network, initially carried on the Basic Plus tier on its Fort Myers and Broward County, Florida systems as a test run.
In January 1983, the Disney Channel was formed under the leadership of its first president, Alan Wagner.
Outside of daytime programs for children, the network also aired movies and original specials (largely concert specials), largely during the nighttime hours.
Early in 1986, the musical sitcom Kids Incorporated, about a pre-teen (and later teen-to-young adult) gang of friends who formed a pop group, mixing their everyday situations with variety-show and music video style performances.
As a premium channel, The Disney Channel would air week-long previews four times a year, as well as two free preview weekends periodically (with ads targeted to non-subscribers), in the same manner as other premium channels such as HBO, Cinemax and Showtime.
On December 1, 1986, Disney Channel began broadcasting on a 24-hour-a-day schedule.
In early 1977, Jim Jimirro of Walt Disney Productions brought forth the idea of a cable television network with material from the studio.